I have previously tried to take up running with various degrees of success. The first time round, in 2010, I ran with some colleagues on a lunch break and they were too fast for me. After a few months of apathy, I tried again, running a 1 mile lap of a local park regularly after work. However, my interest soon subsided after moving house.

At the beginning of the year some colleagues and I decided to start running on lunchtimes in an ‘unfit’ running club. Our initial attempt was not very good. We ran 2 miles in 24 minutes! The course was quite hilly and we needed to stop regularly. We stuck to it and have ran almost every Tuesday and Friday since. It’s now August and I can run 5k in 24 minutes, 5 miles in 43 minutes and I’ve just today recorded a 6:53 1 mile time trial score.

I feel a lot healthier for running. I’ve definitely lost weight, feel less stressed and picked up a hobby in the process. By no means can I run competitively – I’m not interested in that. Working as a software developer you tend to spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. Getting some exercise and a bit of fresh air really helps to focus your mind.

Running is admittedly a tough hobby to pick up. You need to control your breathing, learn how to pace yourself and keep your mind at bay. Running with friends will encourage you to run further and faster, but going out alone is a different ball game. At every opportunity your mind will tell you to stop, go home and eat some bacon. Overcoming the faux-pain, the real pain and clearing a hurdle (such as 5k or 5 miles) will really help to show you can do it!

There is no need for running to be competitive, about going further, being fastest or obsessively logging routes, times and your heart rate. Indeed there are myriad of races, but there are also non-competitive, free, events such as the Parkrun. Typically held on a Saturday morning across the country, these are fun and popular. Running is about doing something that will make you feel better, has long term health benefits and doesn’t cost a penny. Try it and you’ll have fun, I promise!